Most of us would agree that the Police have a very difficult job to do and they play a very important role in keeping society safe for everyone.
While the majority may be doing their best in trying circumstances but sometimes their actions are wrong, unlawful or even criminal, sometimes they abuse their powers.
Civil actions against the police are important for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is important that agents of the state, such as the police are held to account.
Secondly, the innocent victims of police abuse should be given a voice. We should never forget that people’s lives can be seriously affected by involvement with the police. Their faith in a just society can be questioned when they are unwittingly, and wrongly, involved with the police.
Thirdly, claiming compensation from the police when they act outside of the law is an important civil right which must be protected. This is particularly so when time and time again, people are completely let down and disillusioned by the ability of the “system” (Police and IPID) ability to deal with Police Complaints.
If you or a family member is injured or killed due to the use of unreasonable force by the police, you may be able to institute a personal injury or loss or support claim against the South African Police Services or the Metropolitan Police Department in your city. It may also be possible to institute an action on the basis of wrongful arrest.
It is important to note that because an arrest or detention does not result in successful criminal proceedings does not necessarily mean that the arrest qualifies as being wrongful and each case will need to be scrutinised before deciding to proceed with an action.
What are actions against the Police?
Actions against the police are civil claims, primarily based in the law of delict, for damages.
Similar actions could be made against other bodies, not just the police. For example, misconduct by prison officers, security staff and others.
Damages you can commonly claim (if proven) include:
• past medical expenses
• future medical and hospital expenses
• past and future loss of earnings, and
• general damages for impairment of your dignity, loss of freedom and pain and suffering
• loss of support, in the event of a fatality resulting from the abovementioned conduct (or failure to act) on the part of the relevant officer(s) / institution(s)
All damages claims have to be made within a pre-determined period after the injuries are sustained. Where action is contemplated against an Organ of State (such as the South African Police Services) it is also necessary to give notice of the intended action within 6 months of the date on which the cause of action arose. It is therefore essential that you make contact with us as soon as possible.
However if that 6 month period has passed we would probably still be able to assist by bringing an application for condonation for the notice being served out of time.
In addition to the 6 month period to give notice, in most circumstances you have 3 years from the date of the unlawful action you to have served summons.
How We Can Help You
Whether you have been injured or subject to other negligence at the hands of the police, we can help you to make a complaint and claim compensation for your injuries or distress.
If you have been harmed (psychologically or physically) as a result of the actions of the police, then you could be entitled to compensation. We have a team of dedicated attorneys who specialise in helping clients to make compensation claims against the police. We have worked for clients have:
We have many years’ experience taking action against the police for malpractice
Litigating against the Police
It can be daunting to bring a case against the Police
You may be able to institute a personal injury claim against the South African Police Services, the Metropolitan Police Department or, if relevant, a private Security Firm, if you have been arrested and / or detained without justifiable cause. You may also be able to institute a claim against a person or institution for malicious prosecution.
Police abuse litigation in cases involving a physical assault will depend on the severity of the injuries you received (both mentally and physically).
Why You Need the Expertise of a Specialist Personal Injury Attorney
Our attorneys have the expertise and specialised knowledge needed to assist you with your claim.
As an added advantage to our clients, we can act on a “no win, no pay” basis
We will make sure that your claim is thoroughly investigated and we will also help you to obtain all the necessary documents, like hospital reports and witness statements.
You should firstly endeavour to follow the instructions of the officer/s. If you resist an arrest it will probably only escalate matters.
For more information about our legal services, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Contact Us To Discuss Making A Claim Against The Police
If you have been injured by the police or wrongfully arrested, contact us online or call us on 0861 34 77 72 for free advice to establish if you would have a claim.